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How two sim drivers won a national motorsport championship

How two sim drivers won a national motorsport championship

When the Praga R1 – a thoroughbred mini-prototype race car from Czech suppliers of Dakar karts and trucks – entered the paddock, its driver pressed the clutch and gave three short, sharp jerks to the accelerator .

Engine revs rose in line with the jerky beeps, the sound of a highly tuned turbocharged four-cylinder engine ricocheting off the nearby pit lane garages.

With the offside gate flying up, a bright pink helmet emerged. Fans, family members and management cheered, cheers erupted as young Scotsman Gordie Mutch climbed onto the carbon fiber roof and shouted in jubilation.

Gordie Mutch (left) and Jimmy Broadbent (right) on the Donington Park podium

Gordie Mutch (left) and Jimmy Broadbent (right) on the Donington Park podium

Photo by: Jakob Ebrey Photography/Praga

It was his fifth win of the season with teammate Jimmy Broadbent, ending the year in bitter and windy Donington Park.

The sim racing content creation star ran to share the special moment with his colleague, climbing over the fence separating the podium and the parc fermé. Paired with Mutch – also a winning dedicated virtual competitorin the World eX Championship this seasonalongside its existing real-world experience which includes karting and the Ginetta GT5 Challenge – they had it done.

First Praga Cup champions, beating a formidable field of rivals in identical machines.

Rewind eight months, and while the title was a dream, in a pre-season test at Silverstoneexpectations have been firmly kept under control.

“My goal is to be somewhere near him [Mutch] and if I can do it, then we have a strong couple,” Broadbent said earlier this year.

“But I have a lot of work to do [to reach that level].”

Gordie Mutch wins penultimate Praga Cup race

Gordie Mutch wins penultimate Praga Cup race

Photo by: Jakob Ebrey Photography/Praga

Fanatec Praga Team87 had a solid start to the season, picking up a second and a ninth at Silverstone, followed by a second podium at Oulton Park.

The year was not without drama, however, as the fourth race of the season at Norfolk was marred by technical challenges and a disqualification.

“It was weird,” Broadbent explained.

“We were basically overboosted, but we had no control over that and reported the issue during qualifying.

“We unfortunately lost that race victory, but we were justified the next day by winning by 30 seconds. The pace was there despite everything.

The duo then dominated the second half of the campaign, picking up five wins.

“I think they both finished the end of the 2021 season very well. [winning two Britcar rounds]so I think they would set a marker then,” said Mark Harrison, CEO of Praga Cars UK

“We didn’t really know how people like Scott Mittell and Charles Hall would do, or [the likes of]Robert Wheldon and Ben Stone. They are all good drivers, so it was open.

Gordon and Jimmy ran very well and took care of our cars as well.

Jimmy Broadbent fans, Donington Park 2022

Jimmy Broadbent fans, Donington Park 2022

Photo by: Thomas Harrison-Lord

The world was watching, with spectacular live viewing figures on the British Automobile Racing Club YouTube channel.

“To build trust in a brand, and we see ourselves as a new brand for the environment, you need to build a fan base,” Harrison continued.

“The bigger the viewership the better for everyone and it’s clear viewership has grown significantly on live streams.

“Now you can’t prove every single one of those numbers is Jimmy’s, but when the Pragas started running with him the numbers went up, which is fantastic.”

Going into the final round double-header in the East Midlands, picking a winner wasn’t straightforward, with Team87 leading by a measly 19 points over the aforementioned Mittell and Hall – the latter qualifying on pole position.

Mark Harrison, Praga, congratulates Jimmy Broadbent

Mark Harrison, Praga, congratulates Jimmy Broadbent

Photo by: Thomas Harrison-Lord

In the first race last weekend, Mutch had qualified second but swept outside Mittell at Redgate to take the lead.

“The rider in front, he didn’t do a lot of weaving in the lap,” Mutch said.

“I noticed that, so I warmed up my tires more than anyone. I had planned that I was going to spin on the outside of the first corner because I had a lot more heat in the tyres.

Later Mittell would be hit from behind, swooping to check for damage and losing a turn. Mutch and Broadbent would win the race to claim the championship after resisting the pairing of Ben Collins and Jamie Morton.

The next day they would win again, sealing the title by 46 points.

“We were definitely champions on Saturday night; it was just on the countdown,” explained Broadbent after Sunday’s final race.

“There is no longer any doubt now, [we’re] clear above. It’s been a hell of a season. »

Broadbent has proven time and time again that its virtual skills not only translate into motorsport, but can also give you an edge. A nationalthe title was proof of that.

Gordie Mutch celebrates, Praga Cup, Donington Park 2022

Gordie Mutch celebrates, Praga Cup, Donington Park 2022

Photo by: Thomas Harrison-Lord

“I think it’s vindication as a sim pilot,” Broadbent said.

“It wasn’t easy, I didn’t just jump in and I was on it.

“I really hope that for the wider sim community this means something to them. If I can do it then nothing will stop anyone else.

“When I met Jimmy and Jay [Morton] before the start of last season, they were complete novices,” Harrison pointed out.

“Now Jimmy wins the championship and Jay is on the podium again.

“I love the fact that they come from completely different backgrounds. You know, to put it simply, one is a gamer and the other is a former Special Air Service soldier, and yet they both evolved in very similar ways.

“It’s been really rewarding.”

After such a strong year for Mutch and Broadbent, as well as a debut season for the Praga Cup, all eyes are on what’s next.

“I would love to be in the UK GT paddock so if any teams need a Pro driver to help out an Am who needs driver coaching I’m your man,” said Mutch, who has also been driver trainer for simulation racing. content creatorSteve Alvarez Brownaka Super GT, this season.

Broadbent’s plans for the coming year are still unclear, but he bought the R1 used to win the Praga Cup, affectionately known as Goldie, and aims to give other sim racers the chance to compete.

Meanwhile, Praga appears to be continuing its rise to prominence. In the virtual world, his R1 can now be raced in the simulationRaceRoom racing experienceand in the real world, the Praga Cup will become a standalone class within the Prototype category of the Britcar Endurance Championship.

He also shocked the car industry by launching the Bohema, a 1.28 million euro hypercar which uses a carbon monocoque chassis and was co-developed with the help of the former F1 star and current driver. of IndyCar Romain Grosjean.

The Praga Bohema hypercar with Romain Grosjean

The Praga Bohema hypercar with Romain Grosjean

Picture by: Prague

It seems that the Praga Cup 2022 championship has been formative not only for the drivers, but also for the car manufacturer.

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Written by EricMbadinga

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